Mar 28 2014
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on reports that Russian military forces are increasing their presence and activities on the borders of Ukraine:
“We are deeply concerned by media reports that Russian military forces are increasing their presence and activities on the borders of Ukraine. Considering President Putin’s track record of lies and aggression, it is prudent now to expect and plan for the worst.
“We call on President Obama, together with our NATO allies, to immediately fulfill the Ukrainian government’s request for military assistance. This assistance should include small arms, ammunition, and defensive weapons, such as anti-armor and anti-aircraft systems – as well as critical non-lethal support, such as protective equipment, medical supplies, spare parts, and intelligence sharing.
“No one denies that Ukraine is overmatched militarily by Russia. But as Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said again this week, if Russian forces invade mainland Ukraine, patriotic Ukrainians will fight to defend themselves and their homeland. The West should act now to help them – not to raise false hopes, or to harbor them ourselves, but because giving victims of aggression some better means to defend their sovereign territory against further acts of aggression is simply the right and decent thing to do.
“At the same time, events in Crimea and the growing Russian threat in Europe’s east must be a wake-up call to NATO. The alliance must urgently conduct contingency planning and military exercises to deter aggression and defend alliance members. We must shift additional NATO assets and capabilities eastward to support these contingency plans. We must increase NATO’s cooperation with, and support for, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and other non-NATO partners. We must enlarge the alliance and put other aspiring countries on a path to membership at this year’s NATO Summit. Finally, we must end the sense of complacency that has led to disastrous cuts to our defense spending and capabilities, both in the United States but especially among most of our European allies.
“There is an urgent and compelling requirement to assist the Ukrainian armed forces and people to meet their needs and upgrade their capabilities – not only to help them defend themselves and their country, but as a meaningful show of the United States’ support. America must stand with our Ukrainian partners.”